*This travel sickness post is collaborative post with various brands
There's nothing worse than being struck down with travel sickness after you've spent all year counting down to cocktails by the pool. It's happened to all of us, and when you travel a lot, sadly it's all the more likely if you become tired and run-down. Whether it's Delhi belly, Bali belly, or even just a cold from the air conditioning on the plane – it can make or break a trip within hours. Nobody wants to be feeling ill in bed, or chained to the toilet, when they could be on the beach eating ice cream.
But the truth is, if you spend all year gearing up for your trip and then totally cut loose on holiday, your body is sure to feel the effects quickly. Going from one extreme to another can have a knock-on effect which makes you more vulnerable to getting sick when you're exposed to new germs. It's something nobody wants to think about, but by planning ahead and being a bit more aware, you could save yourself a lot of misery. I want to stress that I am in no way a medical professional, this guide is created from the experiences of a seasoned traveller. If you become sick while on holiday, you should always get medical advice from a trained professional.
Motion sickness is a demon – only affecting some unlucky travelers, it can have a huge impact on how much you are able to enjoy your trip. From cars, to planes, to boats, there are so many ways for it to affect your holiday. While some may just feel a bit nauseous or dizzy, for others it can cause violent sickness and even anxiety at the thought of travelling.
Affecting travelers in a variety of different ways – there are also a number of ways to ease the symptoms when you travel. For those who suffer mildly, you may find it helps to stare at a fixed point on the horizon, or even listening to music. A natural remedy is to try ginger tablets or eating raw ginger. Others may find sucking boiled sweets or "travel sweets" helps to settle their stomach. For those who suffer with more extreme cases, buy travel sickness medication to take 30 minutes before you travel. From someone who has tried this medications over the years, always buy non-drowsy because drowsiness can increase the feelings of motion sickness.
Too much time in the sun can leave you feeling sick and feverish, dizzy with headaches and cramps. It's no fun when a day of sunbathing or exploring a new place leaves you with a touch of heat exhaustion, or even sunburn. It's important to remember – especially if you're from the UK – your body isn't used to being in the heat and may react differently to how you like. Take care of yourself and drink lots of water.
Avoid getting sick at all by staying smart in the sun – wear sunscreen, drink lots of water and don't lay in the sun all day. Spend a few hours in the shade – especially at the hottest point of the day (usually around 11am to 3pm. Listen to your body. If you've been caught out in the sun, take a cool shower and spread aloe vera or after sun on your skin to help soothe it. Drink lots of water and try putting your legs up to let the blood flow and stop dizziness. Lay in a dark, cool room to recover. If you don't feel better within 30 minutes or lose consciousness, seek medical advice.
The one no-one ever wants to talk about and yet the most likely one to affect your travels! Traveller's diarrhoea can be caused by a number of factors – but the most common is Enterotoxigenic E. coli. This can be caused by contaminated food, a virus such as norovirus, or even a parasite. These are mostly caused by poor standards of public hygiene and can commonly affect travellers particularly when travelling places like Asia. Everyone's heard of Bali belly, well it's very easy to get and no fun when you're surgically attached to the toilet.
The best thing to do is avoid getting it altogether – but how do you do that? There are lots of simple precautions you can take:
If you're looking for something that will help reduce the risk of getting traveller's diarrhoea –Travelan could be exactly what you're looking for. Particularly on your first visit to a high-risk environment, if your body is less used to travel or foreign cuisine, it's a great way to prepare your system for new germs. Travelan reduces the risk of occasional diarrhea and helps to target issues before they begin.
If you're travelling to somewhere like Bali or India, where sanitation levels are uncertain, this is a good way to look after your body. Why wait until you get sick? By taking a caplet of Travelan before each meal, the antibodies it contains will bind to any bacteria in the food rendering them powerless in their attempts to infect your bowels. Keeping your digestive health in peak condition from the beginning of your holiday, could mean avoiding an early ending to your trip.
Everyone knows the common cold – it's no-one's friend and least of all when it pops up in the middle of summer! But if you're anything like me, you always pick up germs on planes. It doesn't seem to matter how much I travel, every long-haul flight sees me boarding healthy and feeling like I've got the flu by the time I arrive. It's something about the air conditioning sending the same germs around the same confined space. Feeling that same headache, watery eyes and sneezing, stuffed up nose is the worst, especially if you've just arrived on holiday.
Sadly there aren't too many ways to avoid a cold, other than these two key things to remember:
This could be anything from spraining your ankle to a motorcycle accident. When you've been planning the trip of a lifetime, you don't want to be stuck recovering in your hotel room in your travel slippers when you could be our having adventures! There isn't much you can do to prepare, other than be careful and try to stay safe. For basic first aid, it's always good to know how to clean and dress any cuts and scrapes. If you're prone to hurting yourself, it's worth carrying antiseptic spray in some areas such as Asia to avoid getting any infections. All other first aid items and wound dressings are available at the nearest pharmacy or health clinic.
Always make sure any cuts, scrapes and wounds are cleaned carefully with alcohol or antiseptic. If these become infected and start to show pus, you should seek medical assistance. For larger wounds, head to the nearest doctor or hospital for assistance – you may need advice on whether to cover, or let wounds breathe.
The best way to prevent illness is to focus on staying healthy when you travel and strengthening your body before you travel. These tips can help you fight off illness before it even has a chance to strike!
What are your top tips for staying healthy and avoiding travel sickness?
Planning a first-time visit to a new city can be tricky, but lucky for you guys – I've done the research and found 30 awesome things to do in Prague! One of my favourite European cities, I was so excited to finally get to visit and see this beautiful place with my own eyes. From those famous bridges to the gorgeous winding streets between the busy squares. A visit to Prague is like stepping back in time to a fairy tale city of red-tiled roofs and those green copper towers to a time of princes and princesses. But it's more than just storybook inspiration – Prague is also a seriously cool city with some epic things to do when you visit. Check out my list for ideas of things to do in Prague on your first, second or even third visit!
The city's most popular attraction – Prague Castle is breathtaking and a perfect place to spend the afternoon exploring. Tours are available and your ticket will also include access to visit other famous buildings including the cathedral, basilica and Golden Lane.
It wouldn't be a visit to Prague without a stroll along Charles Bridge and best of all, it's free! A great way to get a feel for the city, enjoy river views and endless entertainment. This 14th century bridge is one of the most famous landmarks of the city, so naturally expect it to be busy!
Found upon entry to the castle grounds, St Vitus Cathedral is magnificent and overwhelms the courtyard in which it stands. Amazingly the building only dates back to 1929 and the art nouveau style, but feels like it could be hundreds of years old.
Head to Old Town Square on the hour to see this mechanical masterpiece strike. Prague's Astronomical Clock is the pride of the city and sits on the wall of the town hall. More than just a ticking clock, onlookers should prepare a show on the hour.
This lively heart of the city is overlooked by Prague Town Hall and welcomes crowds of visitors every day. Surrounded by bars and restaurants, it's also the perfect place to find street performers from singers and musicians, to comedians and even magicians.
Bathe in the finest Czech beer at the original beer spa – Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland – one of many beer bath experiences across the city. Relax in 1,000 litre oak hot tubs filled with beer while drinking as much beer as you want and eating homemade beer bread. Read about the ultimate beer-lovers experience in this blog post.
It turns out the traditional Czech chimney cake isn't actually a traditional dessert for Prague! But that won't stop the masses of tourists for whom it was invented for. If you have a sweet tooth, this one is for you. Enjoy a trdelník – a long strip of dough cooked into a spiral shape, then filled with cream, chocolate, nutella and even ice-cream!
Get creative and add to the graffiti-covered John Lennon Wall, a monument to peace and love hailing from the dark times of communism. Look a bit deeper to find images of John Lennon and his lyrics among the graffiti. Add your own message, but keep it meaningful and respectful to what is already there.
If you walk away from the city centre on the south riverbank of Charles Bridge and keep following the water, you'll find a Captain Morgan's pirate ship. Docked at the riverbank, it's actually a bar and a great place to spend the night, head downstairs to hit the dancefloor!
Nestled between the Old Town and the Vltava River, you can still find surviving parts of the former Jewish Ghetto dating back to the 13th century. Known as Josefov, you can still find six synagogues and various historical buildings in the area.
Find out what's been pulling the strings on Prague's love affair with the marionette all these years as you walk the streets of the city. Check out the amazing puppet shops and pick out one to take home, or why not go to a puppet show at the National Marionette Theatre and see them in action?
This adorable little street in the castle grounds is actually a key part of the city's history. It was here that novelist Franz Kafka lived for a few years. But it was the fabled alchemists of yore that gave the street its name, with legends claiming this was where they sought to turn materials into gold.
There are so many delicious things to try while in the city. From meat-heavy dishes including duck, stews with beef and lamb, pork cooked in beer, to the lighter pickled vegetable and pickled cheese dishes. Head down the side streets to get away from the touristy restaurants.
A sculpture that has been mistaken for a suicide attempt more than once. This dangling tribute is one to watch out for when wandering the Stare Mesto area. The psycho-analyst appears in seven-foot form hanging precariously from a metal beam above the cobbled streets.
Interested in learning about the Soviet Union and what life was like in Prague during Communist times? This museum was set up by a Russian enthusiast and features spy cameras and interrogation equipment. There's also a photography exhibit with images captured by a KGB officer in 1968 in the streets of Prague.
Prague is famous for that river view, so why not take to the water to get a unique view of the city? Taking a riverboat cruise along the Vltava is a great way to see many of the city's most famous sights while escaping the busy streets. You could even book in for a lunch or dinner cruise to make it extra special. If you love being on the water, you could even combine your trip to Prague with a European river cruise and explore the Czech city as part of a bigger trip.
How better to test the Czech claim that their beer (pivo) is the best in the world, than by tasting it yourself? Join a beer museum tour, visit the local breweries or just head to a nearby bar to try the famous Czech lagers such as Budvar and Staropramen.
Popular with stag and hen weekends, it's easy to see why! Prague is a great place to party the weekend away, with everything from underground bars, to rooftop cocktails and fine dining, to live music, nightclubs and of course, the red light district.
From the sex machines museum to the museum of medieval torture instruments – there's some strange places to visit when you come to Prague. Find over 200 kinky devices dating back hundreds of years, plus silent film to keep you entertained at the Sex Machines Museum. You can even visit the Museum of Communism, and the KGB Museum for a peek into a dark time in history.
Combine amazing panoramic views of the city with a cocktail at one of the most architecturally interesting buildings in the city. The building is considered nouveau baroque architecture and gives the illusion of a couple dancing, so naturally, it's called the Dancing House. A perfect place for a drink overlooking Prague Castle.
A theatrical performance of visual tricks, changing between light and dark, modern dance and costumes all combine to give you an experience you won't forget.
The highly alcoholic spirit associated with bohemian culture is the perfect drink to try while in the city. Head to Franz Kafka Square where you'll find the Absintherie which have lots of different flavours, plus absinthe beer, coffee and ice cream!
Head to the grounds of Museum Kampa for some quirky artwork that sits somewhere between crazy cool and a bit creepy. Giant crawling babies with barcodes across their faces will tower over visitors. Along the riverside, you may even spot some bright yellow penguins glowing in the dark at night.
The home of Franz Kafka, Prague has scattered tributes to the bohemian novelist across the city. This includes a giant rotating sculpture of his head outside City Hall! You can even visit his house up at Prague Castle. Or find out more about him, his works and his life at the Kafka Museum.
If you want to experience the magic of Christmas in Prague, you should book in for the Christmas Markets. Spend a weekend going from stall to stall. Eat delicious festive foods. Stand among the twinkling lights and falling snow to get in the Christmas spirit.
Prague's own Eiffel Tower. The Petrin Tower offers 360° views across the city from one of the city's most famous landmarks. It's free to get up the 299 steps with a Prague City Card.
Just south of the city centre, 10th century Vysehrad Castle stands up on the hill on the opposite riverbank to Prague Castle. With free entry, it's a great place to go for viewing platforms with amazing scenic views. For views of Prague Castle, find a spot overlooking the river on the west side of the grassy park. Check this article for more details of where to go.
Hundreds of believers visit the Roman Catholic statue of Jesus Christ as an infant every day in the heart of Prague. Visiting to pray and make wishes, this 16th century shrine has become something of an attraction in the Mala Strana.
Not one for the veggies or vegans among us! Pork knuckle is a really popular dish in the Czech Republic. Koleno is a very meaty dish featuring pork knee marinated in beer, served with pickled vegetables and bread.
Charles Bridge is a famous enough attraction already. But add street performers, magicians, musicians and singers and you've practically got a party on the bridge! While packed with tourists, it's a great place to get a view across the city. Just watch for pick-pockets.
To book accommodation for your stay in Prague – check out these hotels.
Have you been to Prague? What was your favourite part?
Something very different for you all today, but hotly requested after I posted some pics on Twitter of these delicious vegan dips I created for a summer mezze platter. I'm not normally one for sharing recipes but I do love to cook and get creative in the kitchen, particularly since I switched to a mostly plant-based diet. I love colourful foods and it's amazing how much more creative you get when you take meat and dairy out of the equation. Now these dips might be vegan, but they're certainly not limited to vegans! Everyone loves getting snacks out for guests when they come round in the summer, so whether this is for a picnic or a dinner party, chips and dip, or veggies and dip is always a great shout.
These three dips are super easy to make and it's easy to whip up bigger portions if you have a lot of guests coming over. Plus they freeze well if you want to make sure you always have a stock, just in case. They also make great packed lunches for work if you fancy something healthy. Just pair with fresh salad and falafel for a vegan option, or you could add quiche for a vegetarian option. After coming up with the idea for these in the supermarket car park, I came straight home and made them mostly out of ingredients I already had around the house. All you need is a blender and a little creativity to create the perfect mezze platter!
Because hummus is life. Let's be serious, does anyone actually not like hummus? If so, this one isn't for you. I'm obsessed, but always prefer to make my own ever since I attended this Middle Eastern cookery school and learned how to make it. If you ask me, it's impossible to have a mezze platter without hummus.
NOTE: You can add tahini (sesame paste) as many recipes do ask for it, I didn't have any at home and didn't miss the flavour of it so work with whatever you have available.
The colour of this dip is insane and it looks amazing when paired with the others, plus a bright veggie mezze platter. After some time in the fridge to settle, it looks a bit like a raspberry sorbet and tastes fantastic. The tangy flavour works well with falafel for summer flavours, and would also be great in a sandwich or with cous cous.
Now for my favourite dip of the collection and the one that inspired me to make the full mezze platter. This one is fresh, light and a perfect accompaniment to the tangy beetroot dip, and the spicy hummus. Together, they complement each other well and mean everyone is catered for.
Perfect for sunny summer days in the garden – whip up a quick mezze platter and a jug of Pimms and invite all your friends round for the afternoon. I'm amazed at how many requests I had for the recipes to these dips – so now you can all make them at home. Make sure you tag me in your pics and let me know what you think!
What are your favourite foods for summer mezze platters? What are your favourite vegan recipes?
Every traveler knows the classic journey from novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, but modern times have helped speed up this journey. Now this epic journey would involve 70 train journeys taking place over 31 days, and a new guide has been created to chart the journey. Recreating the magic of the journey from the classic Jules Verne novel, travelling by either car, train, boat or plane.
Using realistic courses across the globe, now travelers can compare the distance, time and even transport taken by the inspirational character, Phileas Fogg. Almost 150 years after the book was first published, now adventurers can recreate the route taken by the character to relive his story.
Starting and finishing in London, the amazing guide has every detail including the mileage, stops and time it would take for each stretch of the journey. The extensive planner even offers options for any deviation from the original travel method. Created by Betway, the research has shown the fastest way to recreate the famous route is by plane which would take just 3.3 days – or 80 hours – to cover the 27,788 miles from London. But this version of the route would also mean changing the original route due to stopovers. As well as an additional three trains in order to finish the journey.
Sailors could cover the 28,413 miles in 72 days by boat. This beats Phileas' time but is still a lot slower than travelling by train and car. Sailing would take 41 more days than travelling by train, and 48 days more than driving. If you're looking to stay traditional and stick closely to the original route. Choosing car or boat is your best option as it will only require an alternative three times in the whole journey. But choosing to travel by train could mean deviating from the route 21 times due to restricted rail line development in the Middle East.
While Phileas’ original route covered an impressive 40,765 miles, the maximum distance travellers will need to cover today is 31,925 miles by car. This distance is closely followed by boat with 28,413 miles, train with 35,547 and finally plane with 27,788. Find full details below in this great infographic:
Milan was never a place I had thought of visiting, but I'm so glad I found cheap flights for my birthday because I can't imagine having spent it anywhere else. A city of culture, art and food. It's the perfect place to spend a girly weekend with your friends, or a romantic weekend with your loved one. With all of the authentic Italian charm and quaint backstreets. Plus the modern and fashionable style that sets it apart from other cities. It's sure to win your heart.
From the moment I flew in over Bergamo Airport and spotted the red tiled roofs, I knew I was in for a treat. And the rest of the weekend definitely didn't disappoint. I had a fabulous three days and nights in the city, which was a perfect amount of time to explore. I'm so excited to share this amazing place with you all now. I hope this post inspires you to take a Milan city break and explore the city on your next trip.
Where you stay could have a big impact on the focus of your trip, so choose wisely. We stayed in the Brera neighbourhood which is one of the more popular areas and a perfect location for first-time visitors to the city. It's walking distance, or a short metro ride away, from the main train station which is perfect for those who have arrived by train or airport transfer. It's also a great area for restaurants, bars, arts and shopping so you'll find plenty to do right on your doorstep.
We stayed in the lovely Brera Charming Loft which was a great little find. Right in the middle of the city centre and walking distance from the centre of Brera, art galleries and the Duomo. The maisonette-style loft had a real authentic feel. It was set back from the road in a gorgeous little courtyard with a terrace overlooking it. Inside, it slept four comfortably and even came with a kitchen. It was one of the cheapest places I found across the city, which still had a level of luxury and the independence of staying in an apartment instead of a hotel.
One important thing to stress is that there are two airports in Milan. So when booking your flights, be sure to fly in and out of the same airport to avoid any stress. I flew in and out of Bergamo which was perfect as the flight times were much better from London Stansted. On arrival at Bergamo Airport, all you have to do is walk outside to where the buses are, and there will be transfer buses waiting. They charge €7 return for the 40 minute journey into the centre of the city. Dropping off at the side of the central train station. If you do get a return ticket, you will need to travel back to the airport with the same bus company. This worked fine for me and the buses go from the same point as they drop off.
The gothic cathedral in the centre of Milan is by far its most famous landmark. It's certainly hard to miss even with the huge crowds that collect outside it daily. Milano Duomo is incredibly beautiful and apparently, it took a whopping five centuries to complete! However the masses of tourists do take the shine off just a little. I highly recommend going early in the morning if you wish to escape the crowds and enjoy a bit of peace. Luckily when we arrived there it was seconds before a huge thunderstorm. So as everyone else was racing away from the building, we headed straight up to the roof and had the whole place to ourselves!
The rooftop terrace is by far the highlight, visitors can walk over pretty much the entire roof enjoying panoramic views across the city. You can also walk around the crypt, visit the treasure. You can even go under the Duomo to find the Basilica di Santa Tecla and the ruins of a Christian baptistery from the fourth century. There are a range of tickets available starting from €3.50-7.50 for the inside of the cathedral and museums. Or to head to the rooftop, tickets range €12.50-16.50 for adults, children are half price and those under 6 go free.
Nearby, you can also visit Leonardo da Vinci’s mural "The Last Supper" which is housed in the Santa Maria delle Grazie convent – be sure to book in advance for this one as it was fully booked during our visit.
Whether you have the money or not, this one is worth a visit. The high-end luxury shopping arcade is a stunning and ornate building dating back to the 1800's. The mall now features designer clothing brands and upscale dining. All housed in a glass-covered 19th century arcade. It gets super busy, so be sure to get there early to beat the crowds. If you can spare the cash, it's a great place to stop for a coffee and brioche while you watch the world go by.
Brera's spectacular art gallery, which is believed to be one of the best art collections in the whole of Italy, was by far my favourite part of the weekend. While I'm not an art expert by a long shot, there's something special about being surrounded by incredible Romantic paintings dating back centuries. The building itself is spectacular, and when you go inside, you'll see incredibly detailed paintings detailing the stories from the bible, famous faces from the past and even some abstract work including a real Pablo Picasso. Highly recommend a visit. Entrance €12 per person, with a reduced rate for locals and children, pick up tickets here.
During the three days/nights of my Milan city break, we mostly stayed around the Brera and city centre areas. If you're looking for great places to eat and drink out. I highly recommend Brera which has lots of gorgeous winding streets filled with amazing restaurants and bars. Eating and drinking out will be your biggest expense while in the city. But if you're smart about it, things don't have to be as costly as you might expect. If you're travelling on a budget, look for happy hour deals and remember you often get aperitivo treats along with your drinks. Also, remember that often it's much cheaper to get a pizza to split than to get several snack dishes.
Other great areas include Navigli which I'm really sad I didn't get time to visit. It's supposed to be full of aperitivo bars, vintage shops and more art galleries. Porta Ticinese is also supposed to be lovely and more laid-back as the student district full of chilled bars and cafes, plus more vintage shops. And finally, for the fashionistas among us, Corso Como is the place to be seen and also the location of many big clubs. If you want more information about different neighbourhoods in Milan, check out this great website for full details.
The beautiful thing about visiting Milan is that it is so close to so many other amazing places. It is super easy to organise a day trip to another location. Whether you fancy a day out at Lake Como, or an overnight stay in Venice or Zurich. It's easy to quickly, and cheaply organise trips. While there are many expensive organised trips you can book. It is also really easy to go independently and save a lot of money. During our visit to Milan, we took a day trip to Lake Como and found it really easy to organise on the spot with just a 40 minute train ride.
If you have a bit longer than a weekend and fancy extending your Milan city break into a longer holiday. You could easily go and spend a few days in Venice or Zurich either side of your trip. The beauty of Europe is that everything is so close. The train/bus travel is fantastic value and extremely good service. If you're interested in Lake Como, watch out for an upcoming blog post on planning a day trip there from Milan. Or, if you would like to plan a Europe road trip – check out this post for route ideas.
If you don't fancy Milan, my next choices for this trip were Barcelona and Rome. Both had cheap flights available from London. There are so many amazing places to choose from within Europe. But Italy will always have a piece of my heart. Why not travel Rome with Voyage Privé and find city break offers at up to 70% off for the full Italian experience. As long as there's gelato and pizza, I'm there!
Have you been to Milan – what did you think of the city? What's your favourite Italian food?